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Barclays Premier League Preview – Week 14

It’s that time of the week again, the Barclays Premier League is back for another thrilling round of football fury. TheYellowCap writer Aziz Jacobs takes a look at the key fixtures.

Manchester City v Southampton (Saturday, 17:00 – Etihad Stadium, SS3)

Hands up, who saw that one coming?? This season’s early champions elect were on the receiving end of a Jurgen Klopp masterclass, as the famous ‘Gegenpress’ finally came good for Liverpool. Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho combined to devastating effect, tearing the City defence to shreds time and again.

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Now the Citizens have to bounce back to get their season back on track. Southampton are no pushovers, but they are coming into this match off the back of a defeat against Stoke last time out. Heading to the Etihad is never an easy task, especially with Sergio Aguero back fit after a seven game spell on the sidelines.

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If Southampton hadn’t lost last week, I’d be going for them to get at least a draw. But that defeat to Stoke exposed some of their flaws against Stoke, and I expect City to capitalise. Aguero to score, and City to win by two.

Prediction: Manchester City 3-1 Southampton

Leicester City v Manchester United (Saturday, 19:30 – King Power Stadium, SS3)

Ah yes, this should be a cracker. Last season, a high flying United arrived at the King Power Stadium, started well – with Angel di Maria in blistering form – before being brushed aside by Jamie Vardy and co.

That 5-2 win for the Foxes highlighted the utter unpredictability of the Barclays Premier League in all its glory, and I’m expecting another high scoring affair this time around. It all depends on which United turn up on the day.

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Will it be the one we saw against Watford, who dig in to churn out a result, or the one we saw against PSV on Wednesday, that can send even the most stubborn of insomniacs into the deepest of slumbers.

They might be boring to watch, but United aren’t a soft touch this season. Arsenal and Man City didn’t play well last week and lost, but United kept going and secured a vital three points.

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I’ve watched Leicester a lot this season and they play one way, with pace. As we saw against Arsenal, pace is an attribute United tend to struggle against. Jamie Vardy will be gunning for Ruud van Nistelrooy’s goalscoring record, and which better team to break the record against than the one that allowed it to be set in the first place. A highly entertaining draw, with Vardy to score.

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Prediction: Leicester City 2-2 Manchester United

Tottenham v Chelsea (Sunday, 14:00 – White Hart Lane, SS3)

You have to feel a little bit for Spurs here. They’ve been brilliant this season, and are the only side still yet to be beaten since the opening day. Considering the respective seasons the two teams have had, I’d ordinarily be backing Spurs to seal a win here. But with the Lillywhites having just returned from a tiring trip to Qarabag, I think Chelsea can pull something off.

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The Blues fell over the line against Norwich and had an easy game against Maccabi Tel Aviv. I’m going for a draw but I wouldn’t at all be surprised if Chelsea went on and won this, considering the round trip Spurs have had to make.

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If Chelsea were to win  against a Spurs side who have only lost once this season in the league, people will sit up and start to take the Blues seriously again.

Prediction: Tottenham 1-1 Chelsea

Liverpool v Swansea City (Sunday, 18:15 – Anfield, SS6)

I got it horribly wrong last week with Liverpool. Jurgen Klopp did a mightily impressive job on Manchester City, picking up the result of his tenure so far.

But Liverpool have to get consistency. They’re not a bad team, but their consistency levels haven’t been great over the past 18 months. This is a game where they’ve got to win, and win quite comfortably.

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If they can start at a tempo like they did against City, they’ll be all over Swansea and rip them to shreds. They can’t let Swansea pass the ball about, but if they play anywhere near where they did last week, which was the performance of the week without doubt, they’ll steamroll them.

Prediction: Liverpool 2-0 Swansea

Norwich City v Arsenal (Sunday, 18:15 – Carrow Road, SS3)

Arsenal have to win this. I said that last week and they lost, but this is a similar game. They will miss Francis Coquelin. For all the talent they have in the team they couldn’t afford to lose him, as he does the dirty work that the rest of the team shies away from.

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Every year with Arsenal, it’s the injuries. It’s the same story season after season. Key players always seem to be struck down at the most inopportune occasions, which usually ends up scuppering their hopes of landing major silverware. And let’s be honest, winning two FA Cups back to back is a commendable achievement, but the real prizes have proven to be well beyond the Gunners’ reach.

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Are they unlucky? Are the pitches too hard? Coquelin’s injury was unlucky, but look at Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s muscle injuries, I don’t think they were unlucky. That’s just down to bad preparation.

In spite of all that, if Arsenal get going I think they’ll have too much for Norwich.

Prediction: Norwich 1-3 Arsenal

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